BY: Ray Schmitt, Voice of the Greenville Road Warriors
GREENVILLE, SC – Brendan Connolly’s hat trick didn’t provide quite enough offense as the Greenville Road Warriors fell 6-4 to the Reading Royals at the BI-LO Center Friday night. The loss dropped Greenville’s record to 15-9-2 on the season.
Reading’s power play was operating at peak efficiency in the first period as it went 2-for-2 as part of a four-goal frame. The Road Warriors managed to cut Reading’s lead to one after the Royals went up 2-0 on goals 1:14 apart by Derrick LaPoint and Olivier Labelle. Brendan Connolly used his speed to rush coast-to-coast and rip a wrist shot past Reading goalie Mark Owuya at 8:07. Labelle’s goal came on Reading’s first power play and a one-timer by Rob Kwiet at 11:59 restored the Royals’ two-goal lead. Ray Macias finished off an odd-man rush a few minutes later to give Reading a three score advantage. Jason Missiaen faced 14 shots in the frame and stopped 10 of them.
The Road Warriors slowed Reading’s attack in the second period and prevented the deficit from growing any further. Greenville limited the Royals to nine shots in the frame and Missiaen was there to turn each of them away. Late in the second, the Road Warriors’ power play woke up and cashed in for the first time in four games. Connolly netted his second of the night with Rob Shearer serving a holding minor. Kale Kerbashian and Wes Cunningham teamed up to set up Connolly as the Road Warriors closed within two.
Greenville came roaring out of the gate in the third period and scored twice before the period was six minutes old to tie the game. At 2:21 Connolly capped off the second hat trick in Road Warriors history with a snap shot from the right wing. Justin Bowers’ fourth of the season came on the power play at 5:58 and tied the game for Greenville. But Reading received a 5-on-3 power play a few minutes later and Kwiet hammered home a one-timer to put Reading back ahead by one with just over 10 minutes to play. Labelle provided an insurance score with 7:20 left to play and his second goal of the night set the final score.
Missiaen was saddled with the loss as he made 24 saves for the Road Warriors. Greenville was 2-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-6 on the penalty kill.
Mark your calendars! The Road Warriors return home to face the South Carolina Stingrays on Tuesday, December 27 at 7:35 p.m. at the BI-LO Center. Come out for the BI-LO Two-for Tuesday where you can get one free ticket with the purchase of another ticket of equal value by showing your BI-LO Bonuscard at the Breakaway Honda Box Office at the BI-LO Center. You can also save on your tickets by bringing out a group of 10 or more! The Road Warriors offer discounts off the box office price and preferred seating based on availability to groups who book in advance. Call 864-674-PUCK (7825) for more info or to book your group.